[UPDATE: Report now public. Scroll for more updates]
It's late Wednesday night, and the report on the VA Tech shooting is due out tomorrow, but in typical fashion several mainstream news outlets got their hands on it.
The New York Times has a story on it.
The Washington Post.
Both Reuters and the AP as well.
I went through all of them, and the only one with something on gun policy was this from the NYT:
What a bunch of stinking bullshit! "Deep divisions" over "rapid fire and high-capacity magazines"? Were you guys really considering even the slightest effort to ban or increase regulation of such firearms? Out of your scope is damn right. But that's not what I'm upset about. It is the implication (assuming the NYT article accurately sums up the report) that VA Tech did not already have a weapons policy (regulation of guns on campus) by insisting that the state of Virginia establish a right for colleges to regulate firearms.
The report largely sidesteps the Second Amendment debate about access to guns in the state and the nation. It cites “deep divisions in American society regarding the ready availability of rapid-fire weapons and high-capacity magazines,” stating that this debate was beyond its scope.
The report commends Mr. Kaine for having closed the loophole that allowed people like Mr. Cho, who had been mandated to receive outpatient mental health treatment, to buy guns. But it says a change is still needed in the state legal code to address the problem, and it calls for state legislation to establish “the right of every institution of higher education in the commonwealth to regulate the possession of firearms on campus if it so desires.”
The report said Mr. Cho’s purchase of two guns violated federal law because he had been judged to be a danger to himself and ordered to undergo outpatient mental health treatment.
“There is confusion on the part of universities as to what their rights are for setting policy regarding guns on campus,” it said, recommending that Virginia require background checks for all firearms sales, including those at gun shows. [emphasis added]
Ugh. Time for a history lesson. Behold, the VA Tech Weapons Policy (regulation of guns on campus):
2.2 Prohibition of WeaponsVA Tech sure took it upon themselves to enjoy this "right" which has yet to be "established" by the authority of Virginia. And disarmed everyone who cares about being arrested. If that doesn't spell out a regulation of firearms from an "institution of higher education" imposed upon their students on campus then by God, I don't know what does.
The university’s employees, students, and volunteers, or any visitor or other third party attending a sporting, entertainment, or educational event, or visiting an academic or administrative office building or residence hall, are further prohibited from carrying, maintaining, or storing a firearm or weapon on any university facility, even if the owner has a valid permit, when it is not required by the individual’s job, or in accordance with the relevant University Student Life Policies.
Any such individual who is reported or discovered to possess a firearm or weapon on university property will be asked to remove it immediately. Failure to comply may result in a student judicial referral and/or arrest, or an employee disciplinary action and/or arrest.
Furthermore, VA Tech Vice President for University Relations Larry Hinker on September 5, 2006 with the Roanoke Times, headlined: "IMAGINE IF STUDENTS WERE ARMED - THE BODY COUNT WOULD HAVE SOARED," and said the following, "Guns don't belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same." [free link to Hinker's detractor who quoted it]
I'd say Hinker's assurances couldn't have been more wrong.
The best thing the report could come up with, was that the campus police screwed up the response. But what would have been an acceptable response? After the 3rd murder, the 10th, the 20th? Oh that's right, 33 people dead and not a single person gets fired. It appears that the VA Tech administration and the appointed panel find this response just acceptable enough to let everyone keep their job. When acceptable is 32 murders, that to me signals a complete redefinition of the word "acceptable."
Not surprisingly, the panel thinks VA Tech needs to tighten up on its students and security.
I've got a better idea. Now keep in mind that the people who are emergency responders such as police and SWAT teams primary functions are to act in response to a situation. Hence, once said situation had begun, it will be some amount of time before the authorities can respond. To save the cost of that valuable response time, which is always too long, is it too much to even consider letting law-abiding Americans carry firearms as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, in what I hope one day will be called the "formerly known as gun-free zone?"
UPDATE: Full Report disclosure here. It's quite large and will take some time going through.
UPDATE: From Chapter VI of the report:
Virginia Tech has one of the tougher policy constraints of possessing guns on campus among schools in Virginia. However, there are no searches of bags or use of magnetometers on campus like there are in government offices or airports. Cho carried his weapons in violation of university rules, and probably knew that it was extremely unlikely that anyone would stop him to check his bag.No one to stop him to check his bag? Or do you mean no one to stop him? And I jest you not, in the immediately following paragraph:
Virginia universities and colleges do not seem to be adequately versed in what they can do about banning guns on campus under existing interpretations of state laws.I can see where this is going. Ok, I was right, this is ridiculous:
The guns-on-campus advocates cited statistics that overall there are fewer killings in environments where people can carry weapons for self-defense. Of course if numerous people had been rushing around with handguns outside Norris Hall on the morning of April 16, the possibility of accidental or mistaken shootings would have increased significantly.Did Hinker write that? 33 dead must be quite acceptable.
MORE: Murder in schools will continue to be allowed by a culture of fear:
...the numbers of shootings on campuses are relatively few—about 16 a year at approximately 4,000 colleges and universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education Campus Crime Statistics for 2002–2004. It could be argued that if more people carried weapons with permits, the few cases of shootings on campus might be reduced further.A bad case of completely missing the point. VA Tech's gun ban did not stop Cho, rather made it much easier for him.
On the other hand, some students said in their remarks to the panel that they would be uncomfortable going to class with armed students sitting near them or with the professor having a gun. People may get angry even if they are sane...
Another Update: I had another minute to read through it. And as expected, I present to you a key part of the VA Tech Report's solution for stopping another Cho:
The panel recommends that guns be banned on campus grounds and in buildings unless mandated by law.Just like the ban that stopped the last one. But with increased emphasis this time:
Universities and colleges should make clear in their literature what their policy is regarding weapons on campus.The VA Tech Report Panel, holding no one accountable and advocating defenselessness. We should all remember that the one thing that stopped Cho was a bullet.